Imagine a coach who grew up and went through a private catholic school setting. This coach grew up surrounded by great people of strong faith. It was an extremely positive and nurturing environment. The coach’s formative years in this setting molded him into a person of strong morals and values. But, something was missing.
His religious experience was more ritual than relational. By that I mean, he did things and believed things because that’s what he’d always been told, and it was what all the other great people in his life did. This coach had faith, but didn’t fully understand what real faith was. He didn’t understand how a relationship with God is so much better than a ritualized religious experience.
This coach has coached football and basketball for 13 years. But this is the first time he has coached a team and a season with his new-found faith, trust, and relationship with God. And it has made all the difference in the world.
This coach is me. Let me explain.
Legendary NFL quarterback Kurt Warner has one of the best rags to riches stories in professional sports history. I’m old enough that I vividly remember his rise to stardom here in St. Louis. What made Kurt special was his unabashed faith and willingness to discuss it on any stage. I didn’t fully understand it then, but I do now.
One of my favorite quotes from Kurt is this, “Success on any field starts with Faith.”
For me having a strong faith means you understand you’re forgiven. You understand Jesus knows every bad thing we’ve done and thought, and that he still loves us and forgives us. Once I truly understood that I became free and fearless.
So many times, at least for me, coaches are too worried about how they stack up to other coaches and programs. It’s coaching insecurity. Yes, even though we don’t show it, a lot of coaches have it at some point in their career. I used to compare myself to other coaches win-loss record. I would judge myself and my value from it.
Early in my career I got a little too much gratification out of winning alone. Now, I fully understand my value and worth is not determined through records, it’s about how I affect and impact the lives of others. (I’ve always believed this and had it a part of my coaching philosophy, but now it’s on a different level) Having a strong faith allows me to do so.
Our past is not who we are. Too many times we allow our past and it’s mistakes to dictate how we live in the future. When we realize we are forgiven it frees us to be more and do more. It has freed me to go back to my coaching roots and be the best coach I’m capable of.
No matter what walk of life we’re in we all are in search of security. But, that can become a dangerous thing. Why? Because we never truly have it. Instead of chasing security, live and walk in faith. It’s a powerful thing. When we walk in faith we know our purpose and who holds our future. We are free to be the creative beings we are. Our past is not who we are. We are loved, forgiven, and are a work in progress. However, if we don’t have faith, if we don’t stand for something, we’ll fall for anything.
Everything will be alright in the end, and if everything’s not alright; it’s not the end.
With faith we’re able to let go of outside expectations. We realize we are enough and we are uniquely creative. One thing I have learned from a mentor, who I met while getting my first tattoo to symbolize my wife and I’s new faith, (There are no coincidences) is FTH.
FTH stands for: Forget The How. To me this is what faith is all about. Forget about how it will happen. Forget about what the future holds. Trust the process and live in the present moment. As my friend and mentor Adam Bradley says, “I don’t know what my future holds, but I know who holds my future.”
We should focus on being present, and being in the moment every day. When we are aware of the endless connections and possibilities out there, we open ourselves to receive more. However, if we live in fear, live in the past, we are not vibrationally able to achieve and receive more. We must stop the negative self-talk, and not let doubt cloud our minds, judgement, and ambition. We tell ourselves we can’t, we shouldn’t, or that it will go wrong in order to fulfill our twisted self-fulfilling prophecies. That’s not who God created us to be!
So, forget how it will happen. Trust the process. Trust in God. Trust that you are enough, and that no matter what you are loved by a man who died for you.
Having a strong faith will make you a better coach and player. How? Because you’re free. You don’t worry about what others think. You know you are loved. Self-doubt and negative self-talk are no longer in the picture.
I committed to FTH before our season started. I’ve introduced it to our team as one of our slogans, and we’re off to the best start we’ve had in five years.
I am a husband, father, teacher, and coach. Most importantly I am a believer. I am flawed. I make mistakes, but I am forgiven by a loving God. Because of that I am now am truly fearless and free to be my best, and reach my potential.
How You Can Impact Someone’s Life Today!
We were fortunate to have some great neighbors who simply invited us to a Christmas service at their church last year. We were going through the motions, and not really connected to a church. We were lost. But all it took was one service and our lives have been changed for the better. And because of that we’ve turned people onto our Church, and it has helped them through some difficult times.
If you have a church, pastor, or community you love, please invite someone to attend a service with you. You can change a life, and by that life changing, countless others will change too.
As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!
How has faith helped you in your life? We’d love to hear and share your story.
Coach Elmendorf is available to speak to your team, group, or organization. Message him for details.